Mining for Resources in Minecraft - dummies

Mining for Resources in Minecraft

By Jesse Stay, Thomas Stay, Jacob Cordeiro

Part of Minecraft For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Mining is a large part of Minecraft (as the name would imply) and gives you the necessary resources to craft advanced weapons and other useful items. You will likely find yourself digging a staircase mine on your first night (within the relative safety of your shelter).

Here are some steps to get you started with your mining efforts:

  1. Build your mine using stair steps (so you can climb back out).

  2. Collect cobblestone.

  3. Use the cobblestone to craft a stone pickaxe and a furnace.

  4. Cook wood (not wooden planks) in the furnace changing the wood into charcoal.

  5. Use the charcoal to craft torches and then place the torches along the walls. This will prevent mobs from spawning in the dark mine.

  6. Return to the surface to farm during daylight hours.

  7. Return to the mine, collecting coal and iron.

  8. Craft buckets, and then iron tools and weapons.

  9. Continue alternating farming and mining as you collect more lucrative resources.

As your farming empire grows and you have iron level weapons and tools, you will decide whether to expand your mining operation or pursue other goals in the game. Master miners will head deep into their mines to find gold and diamonds, digging all the way to bedrock.

Commonly used ores in Minecraft

Mining is a large part of gameplay in Minecraft, so naturally, you mine many different things, called ores. Some of these ores, such as iron and gold, may be familiar to you, and others may sound brand new. The following table describes where to find the most commonly mined ores of the game and how you can use them.

Commonly Mined Ores
Ore Name Where to Find It How to Use It
Coal Layers 5-52 Fuel for the Furnace and to Craft Torches
Iron Layers 5-54 Crafting Iron Tools, Weapons, and other useful things
Gold Layers 5-29 Crafting railways and Golden Apples and Golden Carrots
Diamonds Layers 5-12 Crafting Strong Tools, Weapons, and Enchanting Tables
Redstone Layers 5-12 Necessary for all Redstone Contraptions and Automation
Emeralds Layers 5-29 Trading with Villagers
Lapis Layers 14-16 Craft blue dye and use as a beautiful building block

Mining diamonds

Who wouldn’t covet a shiny diamond? Even in Minecraft, these gems have value. To get the most out of your gameplay, you’ll want to know how to successfully mine for diamonds. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the F3 menu to determine your Y coordinates.

  2. Dig to level 11 on your Y coordinate. This will put your feet at level 11 but your head at level 12.

  3. Create a strip mine.

    Create one long mining tunnel with branches leading off on both sides. Each branch should be 6 blocks apart.

  4. Discover a diamond mine.

    One of these branches will uncover a diamond streak. Some players will get lucky on their first couple of branches. Others will take longer, sometimes much longer to discover a diamond mine.

  5. Only mine the top block of each branch.

    Don’t forget to place plenty of torches in your tunnel and branches or you will have created a hostile mob death trap for yourself.

Where to mine in Minecraft

Minecraft lets you mine in all sorts of places. You can go excavating in caves, ravines, mineshafts, and even dungeons and strongholds. The following sections describe each of these mining hotspots.

A few simple precautions can ensure your long-term survival while excavating in mines. You can create an underground base, for example, including planting food underground, crafting a bed and chest, and even constructing a railway or tunnel system. If you find creating railway or tunnel systems a little too challenging, you can use horses to move quickly through your mines. Horses are often as fast as mine carts, and they do not have hunger, so you don’t need to worry about feeding them. Keep in mind that horses are tall, however, especially when you ride on them. When you use horses, you will need to expand your mine shafts to be 3 tall and 2 wide instead of a traditional 2 tall and 1 wide.

Mining caves

Early mining involves the same steps whether creating your own mine or using a cave. But after you have secured stone or even iron level pickaxes and shovels and enough food and torches, you will want to follow these steps for a more successful cave mining adventure:

  • Bring buckets, some filled with water and others empty. Lava commonly flows in cave mines. A water bucket may save your life and an empty bucket will allow you to collect lava to use in your furnace as a long lasting fuel instead of charcoal or coal.

  • Craft signs or place other blocks as a code (such as colored wool) to label the underground maze created by the caves as they will branch off in unexpected ways.

  • Store excess stuff in chests in case you do die, most likely from falling off an unexpected cliff or from lava. When you respawn, the stuff you stored in your chest will still be in your chest, assuming you can find your way back to your mining base.

Mining ravines

One of the more lucrative mining options are ravines. Here are some basic features of ravines and a few tips to help with your mining adventures:

  • Ravines can be either underground or aboveground. They are deep and narrow cuts in the mountains.

  • The principles of water and lava are critical in ravine mining. Many players will use waterfalls as shortcuts to swim both up and down.

  • Collect obsidian. Very deep ravines inside of mountains likely have a lava lake at the bottom. As water flows into the lava, obsidian is created — one of the more lucrative items to mine.

  • Bring ladders. Because ravines are so narrow and deep, building usable staircases alone may not be possible. Instead, bring ladders so you can climb out of a deep hole.

  • Just like in caves, bring buckets of water to protect yourself against lava.

Mining mineshafts, dungeons, and strongholds

Just like in the Overland, you will also discover useful structures to excavate: strongholds, mineshafts, and dungeons.

  • For strongholds, you will need a sword and pickaxe as the only new mob you will encounter is a silverfish. As always, you will need torches to prevent hostile mobs from spawning. However, you may find hostile mobs already there which you will have to defeat and then place your torches to prevent future mobs from spawning. You will not want to advance through the end portal if you discover a stronghold early in the game. Simply use the stronghold as an underground base as you continue to develop the resources necessary to successfully fight the Ender Dragon waiting for you on the other side of the portal.

  • For mineshafts, simply mine them as you would a cave. You will need to destroy the cave spider spawner using a pickaxe or place multiple torches to prevent cave spiders from spawning without destroying the spawner. Mineshafts frequently have emeralds and diamonds, not to mention the occasional railway track, so be sure to gather these resources.

  • Dungeons will have 1-2 treasure chests. When you mine, you will eventually find cobblestone or mossy cobblestone indicating a dungeon on the other side. You will need plenty of torches, a pickaxe, and sword before entering the dungeon. Dungeons are very small, containing a spawner. Hostile mobs will fill the room in a matter of seconds. So place your torches quickly while fighting existing mobs. Many players simply break the spawner (which can be a spider, zombie, or skeleton spawner) as it is difficult to light up the room fast enough while fighting the existing mobs. Once you have secured the room, take the loot from the chests.